Monday, May 27, 2013

Why Men Commit Adultery

One Year Bible
Old Testament passage for Sunday, May 26, 2013:  II Samuel 9:1-11:27

2 Then it happened one evening that David arose from his bed and walked on the roof of the king’s house. And from the roof he saw a woman bathing, and the woman was very beautiful to behold. 3 So David sent and inquired about the woman. And someone said, “Is this not Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?” 4 Then David sent messengers, and took her; and she came to him, and he lay with her, for she was cleansed from her impurity; and she returned to her house. 5 And the woman conceived; so she sent and told David, and said, “I am with child.”  II Samuel 11:2-5 (NKJV)

A few years ago, John Piper wrote a book entitled Spectacular Sins.  His topic was God's sovereignty over the massive, tragic sins that have marred history.  The title, however, caught my attention.  It seemed quite unusual to think of sins as being "spectacular."

Piper deals with God's sovereignty with respect to global, world-changing sins such as terrorism or the holocaust.  My thoughts, however, turn to those "spectacular sins" that happen at a personal level.  By spectacular I do not mean grand, good, or fantastic.  I mean devastating and massively damaging.  All sin is sin.  They are all despicably bad.  But there are some sins that have greater and more lasting affect on our lives.  In that sense, they are spectacular.  They are "awesome blunders."

If we consider the life of David, what would you say was David's "spectacular sin"?  It would, of course, be his adultery with Bathsheba.  Which brings up a bigger question.  Why do great men do such stupid things?  What provokes good, courageous, noble men to intentionally make such self-destructive mistakes?  Why do men commit adultery?

We can look at a few reasons directly from the life of David.  We must also realize that this is an important subject that demands fuller thought, prayer, and wisdom.  What was it in David that set him up for such a colossal sin?

1.  David's LUST PROBLEM was not new.

Throughout his adult life, David had displayed remarkable lack of holiness with respect to marital fidelity.  In direct disobedience to God, he had "multiplied wives."  Back in Deuteronomy 17:17, God had given instructions to the coming king to refrain from polygamy.  As David grew in power, he did just the opposite.  He already had two wives when he was crowned king of all Israel (II Sam. 2:2), and by the time he settled in Jerusalem, he had added three more (II Sam. 3:2-5).  This was in addition to his original wife, Mical, from whom he was estranged.

Polygamy is illegal in our day.  But that does not mean men do not have "roving eyes" and fantasy mistresses.  David was not a "one woman man."  It was only a matter of time before this sinful pattern would catch up with him.


David's true wife was Michal (I Samuel 18:17-27).  By biblical order, she was the first, and should have been the only.  However, theirs was a difficult marriage complete with betrayal, alienation, and bitterness.  Because of his failures at home, David was set up for temptation and adultery.

When a man's heart gets tied up with someone other than his own wife, he is walking down a path toward disaster.


"At the time when kings go to battle" (II Sam. 11:1), David was resting on his rooftop.  Instead of fulfilling his God-given duties, he was taking his leisure.  The old proverb is true: "An idle mind is the devil's workshop."  So it was with David.  As in the days of Cain and Abel, if we apply ourselves to do what is right, we will prosper.  But, if we fail to apply ourselves, "sin crouches at the door" (Gen. 4:7).

These factors figured into David's historic failure.  They are not the entire story of why a man commits adultery, but they are a starting point for any man who wants to avoid this spectacular sin.  So, let me summarize:

1.  Deal with your LUST PROBLEM.  Sex should focus on the other, but lust focuses on self.  Unbridled lust can never be satisfied.  Lust by nature is narcissistic.  I realize I am not talking the language most men understand, but sex is not an act, it is a relationship.  Sexual gratification can become a right that gives a man an "excuse" for breaking the rules.  That is incredibly self-destructive.

2.  Dwell with your wife.  BUILD YOUR MARRIAGE.  There is nothing stronger in defeating adultery than unity at home.  That starts with the husband as the head of the house.

3.  DO WHAT GOD HAS CALLED YOU TO DO.  When men accept the assignment God has given them, they will tap into the essence of their gifting and their purpose.  If a man drops out on his duty, he can drop out on his identity, too.  Almost always those who fall into adultery are somehow seeking to redefine themselves.

This is such an explosive topic.  The shock-waves changed the course of David's life.  The first half of David's reign, it seemed he could do nothing wrong.  He won every battle.  But, the second half of his reign was filled with continual heartbreak and set-back.  The turning point was his adultery with Bathsheba.  

It has been said that adultery is destroying the very institution of marriage today.  With the onslaught of pornography, the internet, and an over-sexed mass media, fidelity is becoming a rare commodity.  Divorce over sexual issues has become common.

Let me recommend a short book for anyone desiring to be armed against the spectacular sin of infidelity.  Jack Hayford's book The Anatomy of Seduction is only about a hundred pages, but is filled with God's wisdom for not only men but also women who desire to stay true -- not only to their marriage, but to God.

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